Should our library have an accessibility statement? And should we consider accessibility when making purchases?
Yes, and yes.
Every library, historical society, archives, or museum, if open to the public, should have accessibility information posted at its premises, in its printed brochures and fliers, and on its website.
While it can (and often should, based on the size and type of the library), this "accessibility statement" does not have to cite the ADA. Rather, it can just be a simple statement about your institution's commitment to access, along with some basic information about what common accommodations are on site—and critically, how to get in touch if a person needs more.
Here is some sample language:
The ABC Library is committed to access for all. We currently [insert all current accessibility features, including ramps, bathrooms, parking, adaptive technology, etc.]. As renovations are planned and new items are purchased, our accessibility grows.
Questions about our resources and any accommodations can be directed to [PERSON] at [PHONE] or [EMAIL]. To ensure timely and thorough assessment of accommodation requests, we will confirm the details of the request with you, assess the request, and let you know the options we can offer as soon as possible.
Requests related to specific events should ideally be received at least two weeks before the event, to allow time for proper assessment and planning.
Some requests might not be within the scope of what we can do, or may be met through alternatives, but the ABC Library board of trustees, director, and employees are committed to making our library the best it can be for everyone in our community.
Further, every library should have an accessibility/universal design section in its purchasing/procurement policy.
Just something simple, like:
When generating Request for Proposals and soliciting quotes, the ABC Library will assess the goods and/or services to be purchased and develop criteria to: 1) assure ADA compliance; 2) incorporate consideration of universal design; and 3) position the library to promote accessibility based on established, current, and properly sourced research.
Why is this important? Well, aside from being a kind, considerate thing to do, it is a form of legal risk management for facilities required to follow the ADA.
Pre-emptive outreach on accessibility helps people plan visits and find ways to access services, rather than look to the law for alternatives. And by building accessibility priorities into the earliest phases of procurement, your institution makes sure it thinks about accessibility before a purchase becomes a problem.
Once a library resolves to do these two things, there are endless resources out there on how to write policy, compose statements, and how to consider the ADA when making purchases, designing signage, and updating websites. But resolving to make these things a priority is the first step. So...
Should your library have an accessibility statement? And should your library consider accessibility when making purchases?
Yes, and yes.
 A longer "Ask the Lawyer" answer regarding precise ADA obligations is https://www.wnylrc.org/ask-the-lawyer/raqs/153. This is just a sweet and simple guide to some basic concerns.
 Even an institution with a 200-year-old building with no elevator on a street with no parking can be welcoming if the right signage and alternate means of accessing services have been communicated and properly arranged beforehand.
Tags: Accessibility, ADA, Policy, Library Purchases, Universal design